Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Unsettling Nation: Image, Identity, and Art History in Mexico (Session D)
This course explores how visual and material culture both reflect and construct Mexican identities over time by considering the role images play in the formation of a shared imagined community. By looking closely at select objects from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century, we will see how the colonized peoples of Mexico imagined their own histories through identity-making and how they were subject to the colonial power’s attempt to define their identities. Across five centuries of art history–beginning with sixteenth century codices, seventeenth century “conquest” paintings, eighteenth century Casta paintings, nineteenth century landscape paintings, and concluding with twentieth century performance art– we can discern identities being formed, reshaped, elided, reconstructed, and even corrupted. These formations subvert easy explanation; through case studies, we will explore the complex ways in which propaganda and mythologies shape national and other identities.